Artemisia Annua vs. Semi-Synthetic Artemisinin


A new article (Desrosiers  et al., 2020) published by the BIOMOLECULES journal and conducted by researchers at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, USA, suggests interesting results on the bioavailability of artemisinin available between Artemisia annua plant in comparison with semi-synthetic artemisinin molecule.

For the study, human liver microsomes and rats were used to compare hepatic metabolism, tissue distribution and inflammation attenuation between Artemisia annua and semi-synthetic artemisinin.

One of the interesting results of the article is that artemisinin molecule administered from the dried leaves of Artemisia annua has greater bioavailability in diverse body tissues, due to the presence of other important phytochemicals, in comparison with artemisinin molecule alone. Interestingly, artemisinin molecule bioavailability behaves differently depending on the gender of the recipient. During the study, the product Artemisia annua was administered to males and after 1 hour, had significantly more artemisinin in the heart, muscle and serum, while, females had significantly more artemisinin in the heart, lungs, liver, muscle, brain tissue, and serum. Higher levels of artemisinin coming from the plant was significantly absorbed and distributed more efficiently compared to the results obtained with pure semi-synthetic artemisinin.


As we can see in Figure 1, as well as in other figures of the publication, the results of the study reaffirms that artemisinin molecule from Artemisia annua is more bioavailable, and more efficient regarding anti-inflammatory potency  than when it is administered as a pure and unique molecule (as monotherapy). This new data confirms, once again, the tendency arising on the last years claiming that other therapeutic phytochemicals present in Artemisia annua leaves play a synergic and essential role in improving artemisinin bioavailability and therefore efficiency.This present article is able to confirm our vision of the use of natural products in pharmacodynamic synergy and continue to rely on the potency of Artemisia annua plant used as a whole in comparison to the synthesized artemisinin molecule.

Article available on BIOMOLECULES Journal

Infographic Artemisia Annua vs. Semi-Synthetic Artemisinin

Resource: Desrosiers, M.R.; Mittleman, A.; Weathers, P.J. Dried Leaf Artemisia Annua Improves Bioavailability of Artemisinin via Cytochrome P450 Inhibition and Enhances Artemisinin Efficacy Downstream. Biomolecules 2020, 10, 254.